January the 6th, 2021 – Last year put the nail in the coffin for many a would-be enterpreneur, but not everything is quite so bleak. The continental Croatian town of Koprivnica, for example, is making quite the name for itself when it comes to stimulating the growth of Croatian enterprises of various types.
As Novac writes, the economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has hit the tourism-reliant Croatian economy extremely hard, there is practically no sector that hasn’t been affected, but even in these extraordinary circumstances there are those who have found the knowledge, energy and new ideas needed to overcome this unprecedented and deeply difficult period.
Indeed, some of them have recognised the crisis as a period in which it is possible to lay the foundations for a new cycle of economic growth. Koprivnica is traditionally recognised as a strong economic, but above all industrial centre. Nevertheless, Koprivnica’s local government is implementing a number of projects that stimulate entrepreneurship and make it easier for small Croatian enterprises to start up or expand their existing activities. In terms of the number of employees, Koprivnica is the 15th of all cities and municipalities in Croatia, and over 70 percent of the population is economically active. As a positive example, in this crisis-dominated year, the number of active craft owners increased by 8 percent when compared to last year, and there is even a slight increase in Croatian enterprises.
In Koprivnica today, there are the Dravska business zones covering 38 hectares with 23 business entities, as well as Radnicka with its 41 hectares and 20 business entities. These plots are fully equipped with communal infrastructure and are connected by road with the Podravina highway.
Furthermore, a year ago, in addition to the existing one, a new incubator for creative industries came to life, conceived as a space for the development of innovative and creative ideas, in October it celebrated one year of work. The fact that all rental spaces are now full speaks volumes about the success of the work going on there. Every day, the most modern technology is available to Croatian enterprises and entrepreneurs: holographic and VR equipment, a 3D printer, a gaming station and a teleconference hall.
In order to connect, share knowledge and collaborate, online DevCafe events are organised monthly, which allows all interested parties to get involved regardless of where they’re located at that time. They are intended for anyone interested in topics from the fields of marketing, new technologies, design and IT. The project for the construction of the Creative Industries Incubator is worth 13.5 million kuna and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
It, as well as the Entrepreneurship Incubator, is managed by the entrepreneurial support institution Enter Koprivnica, which also implements several national and international projects in addition to that. As part of the ECOS4IN project, work is underway to establish a Digital Information Hub that will serve as the main place for informing the entire ecosystem and small and medium Croatian enterprises operating in the county and beyond, since Enter Koprivnica cooperates very well with the Varazdin Technology Park and the Technology Innovation centre of Medjimurje within the Digital Innovation Hub.
The most recent plan is to establish a database of experts that will be available to all small and medium-sized Croatian enterprises interested in business expansion and digitalisation. This will make it easier for SMEs to access knowledge, technology and funding opportunities. Enter Koprivnica has also been approved the SCALing up in the creative industries for SMEs and self-employed project, which aims to develop special tools for training employees in creative and cultural industries that will support them to improve their competencies and skills needed to strengthen their competitive advantage within this demanding sector.
The European Regional Development Fund also co-finances the project Services for SMEs through PPI Enter Koprivnica, which organises events for entrepreneurs from the county with the aim of facilitating access to business knowledge. All of the above, combined with a series of measures that Koprivnica has itself designed to encourage entrepreneurship, are an invitation to all small and medium-sized Croatian enterprises to develop their business in that town.
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